This past weekend, fans of Dungeons and Dragons enjoyed the announcements that came out of the D&D Celebration. Among those announcements came a brand new set of books, and a hint at what the future of the acclaimed tabletop RPG has in store.
The announcement came during the "Future of D&D" panel on Sunday, September 26. The panel was headed by the Dungeons and Dragons studio development team, including Chris Perkins, Jeremy Crawford, Liz Schuh, and Ray Winninger. The team officially announced a brand new bundle called the Dungeons and Dragons Rules Expansion Gift Set. This set will include a fancy Dungeon Master Screen and brand new printings of popular D&D supplements Tasha's Cauldron of Everything, and Xanathar's Guide to Everything. In addition, there will be a new supplement titled Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse, which will include supplementary material not just from other books like Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes and Volo's Guide to Monsters, but from across multiple sources like pre-written adventures and setting sourcebooks as well. Overall, that is 250 different monster stat blocks and 30 different player races to choose from.
Schuh mentions on the panel that Monsters of the Multiverse is, "a quick way to create a library of setting-agnostic material for their D&D games." This is really convenient for gaming groups who just want to have the full selection of options and challenges at their fingertips without needing to hunt down multiple different books. In addition, it can help encourage more unusual or interesting group configurations like seeing Fairies first introduced in The Wild Beyond The Witchlight rub shoulders with Eberron's Warforged or even the horror-adjacent Dhampir and Hexbloods first shown off in Van Richten's Guide to Ravenloft.
Crawford explained further what else would be changing with this comprehensive guide. First and foremost, how stat blocks are presented will be changed. From the footage shown there won't be any radical changes to how core information (stats, skills, traits, feats, etc.) are presented, but it appears that certain monsters will be getting additional abilities and traits. An example given is that creatures that can use magic are represented as "Spellcasting Actions" which streamlines elements like spell slot management.
In addition, every single creature in the book will be getting its own dedicated artwork and supplementary information. A Bard's stat block will include a chart for you to roll to determine their preferred form of performing arts for example. In addition, all monsters will not be squirreled away into subdivisions of different creature types and be universally organized alphabetically. This is helpful if you are looking for a specific type of Devil or Demon enemy and keep looking for "G" when you should be going to "D" then flipping through that specific section.
Crawford continued to say that this will be the new standard for monsters going forward. While you can still use the original printed material for your games, all future supplements going forward will adopt these revised creatures and rules.
What Does This Mean For The Future of Dungeons and Dragons?
As the panel concluded, Perkins talked about what would be coming to Dungeons and Dragons in the future. He teased two brand new settings for the game, a first since the introduction of Eberron back in 2004, as well as the return of an older beloved setting. But what has gotten many people's attention came from long-speculated rumors being confirmed. Winninger stated that earlier this year, the team has begun working on "the next evolution" of Dungeons and Dragons, stating that new versions of the core rulebooks would be available in 2024. This is an important milestone since it marks not just the 10th anniversary of Fifth Edition but the 50th Anniversary of Dungeons and Dragons. As for what this means leads to further speculation based on Winninger's word choice. Some believe that these revised rulebooks are preparing the game for a 5.5 Edition, where the rules and systems are rebalanced but the core will remain unchanged. This has happened before with 3.5 Edition released in 2003, so it's not completely out of the realm of possibility. This is further reinforced by Winninger not explicitly saying "evolution" rather than "the next edition," as well as assuring viewers that all prior Fifth Edition material will be compatible with these new systems.
The Dungeons and Dragons Expansion Gift Set is available for pre-order now on Wizards of the Coast's web store as well as at your local retail hobby shop. The set will be available on January 25, 2022, and will be sold at the retail price of $169.95. In addition, Mordenkainen Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse will be available as a separate purchase both in physical and digital format.